McDaniels blistered Patriots offense for dry spell vs. Texans

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McDaniels blistered Patriots offense for dry spell vs. Texans

Early in the fourth quarter Monday night, after the Patriots scored to make it 35-7, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels got loud.

Even though the Patriots had just scored, McDaniels reamed his offense for missed assignments and avoidable errors that had been emerging since early in the second quarter.

When McDaniels was done, Tom Brady gave a "What he said..." amplifier to McDaniels' comments. After the dressing down, the Patriots had a 10-play, 68-yard touchdown drive (albeit against a checked-out Texans defense) to end their evening.

On Tuesday, McDaniels discussed the message he was sending.

"The big thing I was saying really has more to do with the things that we can control," said McDaniels. "I thought we had some unforced errors that we can prevent. When you're playing a good team, they're gonna make some plays and hopefully you're gonna make some plays, but the ones you need to prevent are the ones that have nothing to do with something that they did.

"We had a couple balls on the ground last night," McDaniels pointed out. "We had a couple drops. We had a couple of missed assignments in protection. For us to be able to go out there and execute against a good team and sustain that level, you've gotta first start with doing your job right. I think that was really all I was saying and trying to get us to finish the game there."

After scoring their third straight touchdown to open the game, the Patriots ran 23 plays on their next six drives. One of those was a five-play touchdown drive culminating in a third-down bomb to Donte' Stallworth. The other five drives gained 34 total yards and four of them were three-and-outs.

"We started off and played some really good football and did some good things and then we did have a few three-and-outs there right in a row consecutively which you never like to do because it puts the defense back out there quickly," McDaniels noted. "Credit goes to (the Texans), they did a lot of good things. They pressured us, they came after us and that was really a big point in the game and they made some plays in that stretch that forced us off the field."

Had the Texans offense been able to do anything against a New England defense that ruined their game plan, the game could have narrowed during that stretch. That, McDaniels seemed to be saying, was what he was concerned with. What happened is important. But what could have happened was as well.

"Before we even start dealing with scheme and blitzes and all that, let's just take care of our assignment and have that be the starting point for our offense," McDaniels said. "When you do that, you always give yourself a chance. Whenever you hit a lull, it's always good to come back and talk about doing your job right and I think that's what the message was when I was talking to them."

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.
 

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